It's been over a week that we've now been in the United States of Casual and I have to say, I'm still suffering from culture shock.
People are so darn nice here. So very, very, freakishly nice. They ask how your day is going, they smile and say hi when you pass them running, they even come and refill your never-ending cup of soda at the fast food joints. I'm so out of practice at this chit-chat thing, it's killing me. And the guilt I'm feeling at the grocery store when I see that poor man STANDING there, bagging my groceries! Quelle horreur!
The only exception to this whole killing-me-with-kindness-thing was the other night when I screwed up going through a toll booth and rather than going through the automatic lanes, I ended up going through the one where a very bored and determined young man wasn't about to let me out of the toll without giving him a dollar.
"But the car has an Easy-Pass," I said.
"Didn't work," he replied without shifting his gaze from his iPhone.Who was this woman interrupting him like this?
"It's supposed to pay automatically, right?"
"Look, it didn't," he grunted, still not looking me. "You need to give me a dollar or you can't go through."
I'm not sure he wound have understood the compliment I wanted to bestow on him if I had actually said out loud what was passing through my head. If only he knew that across that great big ocean, he's got a fabulous community of toll booth workers who love doing what he was doing and even liked to make life more fun by going on strike from time to time.
I have to admit that I was kind of happy to meet this atypical American. Someone who obviously didn't give a shit about what was going on and didn't have a problem showing that. It restored my faith that you can find helpful people outside of Paris and obnoxious people in Virginia.
Even though our languages may be different, people are people no matter what size the toll booth. I just wonder what app he bought with the dollar.